- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
This Ventura Marathon takes place in the trendy little surfer town of Ventura, California. My husband and I drove down on our honeymoon from Vancouver, BC. I ran the full and he did the half. We stayed at the nearby Crowne Plaze, which wasn't cheap but was beach front and adjacent to the start line.
Saturday morning we went for a walk along the beach and over to the race expo by the pier. We got our bibs, technical shirts, and tote bags. The swag was really nice. The shirts were light blue with a surfboard graphic and the tote bags featured bright images of the pier and palm trees. We went back later to pick up a pair of Altra runners which I had been eyeing up earlier. They were 10% off and I got a free Mile 26 shirt with the purchase!
The marathon started at 6:00am and the half started at 6:30am on the Sunday. The start line was on Harbor Blvd in front of the Ventura Pier and the marathon turnaround was near the Port Hueneme Pier.
The course is flat and somewhat scenic. One of my criticisms is that the route was further from the ocean than I had thought it would be – obviously I should have checked the map better. Despite it being from “pier 2 pier” and despite the route being mainly parallel to the beach, the ocean wasn’t in sight for most of the race. I did, however, see a couple cacti and there were some more scenic areas and cute residential neighbourhoods near the start and turnaround, as well as lots of palm trees to be seen.
My other criticism is that this race wins the “most roadkill” award – I don’t think I’ve ever seen roadkill during a race, let alone like four different times! I guess that’s more usual around those parts, but maybe the race should consider getting it cleaned up beforehand?
Other than those two minor details, the race was awesome! However, my personal performance was terrible. I don't know if it was under-training, sitting in a car for four days prior, poor nutrition, or the heat and humidity but I had an uncharacteristically bad go of it. But I made it eventually!!
The aid stations were about 1.5 miles apart the whole route and were well-stocked with water, however, I found that on the way back there weren’t electrolytes/sports drink at most of them which was disappointing – I assume they ran out.
There was an abundance of volunteers, including lots of school-aged children. I think some of them had a contest to see how many waters they could hand out to runners! Most stations had volunteers to mist you with a cool spray and some even had kids with Super Soakers who were very polite and asked if you’d like to be sprayed before shooting you with water. At one of the last few aid stations a kid was handing out packages of trail mix which was pretty much the best thing ever!
I also ran with one of the pacers for a while who was really personable and interesting! I wish I could have kept up with him for the second half of the race!
My parents had somehow signed up to receive notifications on my progress and time, so that's pretty cool! The race also offered free photos which is a huge bonus!
The medals were a cool sunglass design featuring bright colours and a subtle bottle opener! It's basically the only thing that motivated me through the heat and scorching sun! They also have a post-race beach party which unfortunately I was too destroyed to participate in. I did grab some post-race food before going back to my hotel room to die a little.
Overall, it was a really cool and an awesome experience for my first out-of-town race!
Read my full race recap here: http://briehemingway.com/blog/2015/09/brie-jesses-california-adventura-part-2-the-ventura-marathon/